Oxyfluoride glasses (GeO2–PbO–PbF2) doped with erbium and/or ytterbium fluorides were prepared. Highly transparent glass-ceramics, containing β–PbF2 nanocrystallites, were successfully obtained by controlled glass devitrification and were studied as they could lead to promising optical applications. To characterize the samples, differential thermal analysis, x-ray diffraction, and transmission electron microscopy were performed, revealing a variation of the crystallites size, the crystallites number and β–PbF2 crystallization temperature according to the doping ion. Indeed, the analyses indicated differences between erbium and ytterbium fluorides in promoting the crystallization of the fluoride phase. Although both fluorides act as seeds for β–PbF2 heterogeneous nucleation, erbium fluoride has higher nucleation efficiency than ytterbium fluoride and runs the nucleation process in co-doped samples. Energy dispersive x-ray microanalysis insured high rare-earth segregation into the crystallites, proving the formation of a solid solution Pb1−x−yErxYbyF2 +x+y, also confirmed by the unit cell parameter study.
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